Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Tuesday tried to maintain a calm demeanor about the sharp selloff in stock markets, although he admitted he was keeping his iPhone in sight given the market volatility.
The decline in stocks was “a normal market correction, although large,” Mnuchin told the House Financial Services Committee.
The Dow Industrial Average
traded higher late in the day that saw a swing over 900-point range Tuesday.
Read: Live blog of Tuesday’s stock market trading
“I normally wouldn’t be looking at my iPhone, but given the market moves, I’m checking it,” Mnuchin added.
The Treasury Secretary said the administration was monitoring the internal functioning of the stock markets, but said his conversations with professionals had not uncovered any concerns.
“I have checked in with market participants this morning before I came to make sure there was orderly market activity, clearance functioning, no systemic issues — and I’m happy to report that I got the green lights,” he said.
Given how much the market has risen, the declines do not pose financial stability concerns, he said.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney, a Democrat from New York, asked Mnuchin if the Trump White House would claim credit for the drop in stocks as it has for the soaring markets over the past year.
“I think we’ll still claim credit for the fact that it’s up over 30% since the election,” the Treasury Secretary replied.
Mnuchin said that algorithmic trading “had an impact” in the decline in stocks but said he did not have any thoughts about whether this type of trading needed more oversight “at this time.”
Rep. Jeb Hensarling, the Texas Republican who is chairman of the finance panel, suggested he had no sympathy for Wall Street.
The decline in stocks in recent days was an “ironic, but totally predicable” response from Wall Street to the prospect of losing “artificially low interest rates,” Hensarling said.
Low rates only benefitted “some on Wall Street, but they haven’t been particularly helpful to Main Street,” Hensarling said.
“We’ve always known the Fed would face significant challenges in unwinding its balance sheet when the economy took off,” Hensarling said.
“If you’re listening, good luck, [Fed] Chairman Powell — you volunteered for the job,” Hensarling added.
Read: Jerome Powell sworn in as Fed chairman as inflation concerns cause markets to swoon